15 Mar 2023
 | 15 Mar 2023
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal BG.

Characteristics of Physical and Biochemical Parameters within Mesoscale Eddies in the Southern Ocean

Qian Liu, Yingjie Liu, and Xiaofeng Li

Abstract. Using satellite sea surface temperature (SST) and chlorophyll-a (Chl-a) as well as observation‑based reconstruction of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) and partial pressure of CO2 (pCO2) from 1996 to 2015, we analyzed the composite patterns of physical and biochemical variables over eddies in the Southern Ocean (SO). Interestingly, eddy modulation of pCO2 has marked seasonal and regional variations. The DIC effect dominates the pCO2 anomalies in winter. In summer, the pCO2 anomalies within eddies are dominated by DIC (SST) anomalies in regions with larger (smaller) magnitudes of DIC anomalies. In addition, about 1/4 of eddies are observed to be abnormal (cold anticyclonic and warm cyclonic eddies) in the SO, which show opposite SST signatures contrary to normal eddies (warm anticyclonic and cold cyclonic eddies). The modification of abnormal eddies to physical and biochemical parameters is non-negligible and differs from normal eddies due to the common effects of eddy pumping and eddy-induced Ekman pumping. For example, DIC anomalies in normal and abnormal eddies show dipole patterns with opposite signals. Besides, the contributions of abnormal eddies to pCO2 are about 2.7 times higher than normal eddies in regions where abnormal eddies dominate. However, Chl-a anomalies in normal and abnormal eddies show similar patterns with the same signals since they are dominated by eddy stirring and pumping.

Qian Liu et al.

Status: open (until 26 Apr 2023)

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Qian Liu et al.

Qian Liu et al.


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Short summary
In the Southern Ocean, abundant eddies behave opposite to our expectations. That is, anticyclonic (cyclonic) eddies are cold (warm). By investigating the variations of physical and biochemical parameters in eddies, we find that abnormal eddies have unique and significant effects on modulating the parameters. This study fills a gap in understanding the effects of abnormal eddies on physical and biochemical parameters in the Southern Ocean.